Friday, January 16, 2009

"The Internet weakens the press' authority"

In graduate school my understanding of "sphere" was almost entirely from Jürgen Habermas' expositions.

Imagine my fascination, then, to be able to reconstuct the term through Jay Rosen's counterintuitive lens.

Rosen, the activist-scholar who advocates citizen journalism as a predicate of democracy, argues, via a conversation with Daniel C. Hallin, that the Internet actually weakens the authority of the press:
Now we can see why blogging and the Net matter so greatly in political journalism. In the age of mass media, the press was able to define the sphere of legitimate debate with relative ease because the people on the receiving end were atomized— meaning they were connected “up” to Big Media but not across to each other. But today one of the biggest factors changing our world is the falling cost for like-minded people to locate each other, share information, trade impressions and realize their number. Among the first things they may do is establish that the “sphere of legitimate debate” as defined by journalists doesn’t match up with their own definition.

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